Green Travel 2011

Green Travel 2011
Book a service staycation with the Sierra Club.
Image: Sierra Club Hawai‘i

Green Travel 2011 / We know that most of you already live here, so elaborating on where to “staycation” seems a bit unnecessary. But here are a few places we don’t want you to miss.

What to do

Dedicate your time to helping out the environment through the Sierra Club’s Service Projects. Upcoming projects include hikes and invasive plant species removal at Haleakala Crater on Maui and the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve in Hilo. Oahu service trips include the removal of exotic weeds from the Manana Ridge and Waimano pool. –Jessie Schiewe

Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, $85, [sierraclubhawaii.com], 538-6616.

Hop aboard Nautilus, a 50-foot yacht, and spend your days snorkeling, cruising through the island and learning about the different types of whales and dolphins that live in the Pacific waters. –J.S.

Wild Side Tours [sailhawaii.com], Kewalo Basin Harbor, $95+, 306-7273

Being on the forefront of the green frontier has been a vision of Podium Raceway Hawaii from the starting line.Their brand-new 44,000-square-foot indoor racing facility in Kapolei houses 48 high-performance go-karts–all electric-powered.

The emission-free, Italian-made OTL karts are the most state-of-the-art in the industry (featuring “green” elements like gel-cell batteries) that operate at an efficiency superior to their gas-powered counterparts. The higher torque and steadier handling make the competition look like a distant speck in the industry rearview mirror.

Podium’s aspiration for an eco-experience also runs off the track. All race results are printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks and the water fountain/bottle refill station keeps more than 11,000 single-use plastic bottles from ending up in our landfills. And you thought Speed Racer was futuristic. –Matthew DeKneef

Podium Raceway Hawaii, 91-1085 Lexington St., Bldg 1844, 11am-10pm, free entry to general public, $20+, [podiumraceway.com], 682-7223

Where to sleep

Escape to Oahu’s premier (and possibly, only) boutique hotel. Hotel Renew is built on the concept of tranquility–a calming contrast to Waikiki. Its vision is to help one restore balance and harmony while renewing one’s spirit. It has 72 rooms (all with recycling bins and environmentally friendly water options) designed with a slew of green features, and built to echo the natural environment of Oahu. With complimentary beverages, breakfast, Wi-Fi and cocktails, we think it’s worth checking out. –Shantel Grace

Hotel Renew, 129 Paoakalani Ave., $140–$200 (including kamaaina), [hotelrenew.com], 687-7700

Where to eat

Kahumana Café–Waianae’s new organic farm-to-table restaurant–serves macadamia-nut pesto with whole-wheat pasta and stir-fried farm greens with garlic butter shrimp. Housemade desserts include gingerbread cake and banana bread, and linzertorte with fresh whipped cream. The cafe’s mission is to provide comprehensive, balanced meals using local and organic ingredients from Kahumana Organic Farm. Proceeds from the cafe support disenfranchised families who need housing. –S.G.

Kahumana Cafe, 86-660 Lualualei Homestead Rd., Tue.–Sat., 11:30am–2pm, 6–7:30pm, [kahumanafarms.org], 696-2655

Add it up

If you are flying roundtrip in economy class from Honolulu to Los Angeles, for example, your total carbon footprint (emissions) = 1.6488 tons of CO2. The total cost to offset this would be $41.80. On the other hand, if you travel first class, your carbon footprint would be 3.2977 tons of CO2, with an offset cost of $83.60. Flying economy class means more people per plane, thus fewer emissions per person.